28 February, 2013

Sponsorship and my experience

Last month and for the very first time I dabbled in sponsorship. I didn't go out there and say "Hey, come sponsor LuckyRainbowDesigns!" while waving my hands in the air. Instead I went on the hunt for blogs to sponsor. In an effort to reach more lovely readers, up the stats for my blog and hopefully gain more followers, I decided to purchase a few monthly slots with some very famous blogs and just test the waters and see if it actually worked or made a difference to my readership.

The blogs I selected are ones which I personally enjoy reading, have followed for a considerable amount of time and felt the type of reader they attract may also be the type of reader interested in little ole me, all the way in rainy Ireland. I see the LuckyRainbow reader as someone similar in age or younger, interested in lifestyle posts, vintage or thrifty finds, an arts lover, a crafter or art student and generally someone who lives a creative life or who wishes they did.

The results, were as follows:

I sponsored FiveSixteenths from 24 January to 23 February and purchased the XL Feature Spot for a bargain busting $15. For $15, the lovely Moe of FiveSixteenths gives you the following:

"Feature spot is at the top of the sponsor column for the entire month. Feature interview at the end of the month + optional guest post. Mentioned on Twitter throughout the month, often included in Fan Friday's posts."

I have to say, it was wonderful to sponsor Moe for 30 days. She mentioned me on many occasions via Twitter and I really loved having two posts on her blog and I certainly noticed readers make their way to my blog via hers by checking the Blogger stats. 

The ad size I received was 300 x 220 in size and bang for buck it was super value. My ad was large, and clearly visible on the left hand side of Moe's lovely blog.

I purchased a medium sponsorship slot from the very popular One Sheepish Girl for the sum of $30. While its more steep than the XL Feature Spot offered by FiveSixteenths, One Sheepish Girl is a very well known blog with a huge readership and given that it breaks down into $1 per day, I was happy and interested to try this out. One Sheepish Girl boasts a readership of 163,000 in January alone and up to 5,500 hits a day so financially speaking it seemed like a sound investment.

The ad space I received was 200 x 100. Not huge, but enough to make an impact on her blog and like FiveSixteenths, I set about creating a colourful mini ad that would encourage readers to click and come my way. I did notice that as the month progressed, my ad slipped down the page and so it would only be visible if readers were scrolling down the blog, however it didn't stop readers coming my way and it was clear that I was receiving more readership via One Sheepish Girl than I did via FiveSixteenths.

Without a doubt, the clear winner of the day was sponsoring The Dainty Squid. I purchased a large ad for $45 which again ran for 30 days. The size of space received was 212 x 102 and from day one and right up to the end of my 30 day subscription, I received reader after reader checking out LuckyRainbowDesigns. I would have no hesitation in returning to The Dainty Squid and purchasing more ad space. 

If you're interested in the stats, The Dainty Squid has an impressive following and currently boasts the following:

192,000+ pageviews in January (as of the 21st)
7,000+ average daily pageviews in January
7,300+ GFC followers
5,900+ Facebook fans
29,000+ Tumblr followers
4,500+ Bloglovin' followers
5,600+ Twitter followers
14,000+ Instagram followers

Neat huh?

Overall Results?
My GFC followers increased by 10, so hello lovely new followers! Great to have you on board and I'm excited to share new posts with you! My readership certainly spiked over those 30 days and I would definitely recommend purchasing some sponsorship space if its something you think will assist your blog / brand. While completing initial research, I noticed many of the popular and who I'd consider successful bloggers, sponsoring numerous different types of blogs, so clearly it's something they believe in and has always worked for them. I also noticed increasing numbers of people commenting on posts, which I was delighted to see.

Overall, a very positive experience and a good return on my $90 investment!

25 February, 2013


Image available to purchase via here
Currently, what am I up to?

Mr Selfridge! It's been described as 'Downtown Abbey with tills' and every Sunday evening at 9pm, I tune in with a glass of wine. It's my 'last treat of the weekend' before the doom and gloom of another working week begins. (It's not really doom and gloom, I'd just rather be in the craft room!)

A ton of new blogs and not many books. I know this will sound weird, but whenever I start to read a book, fiction, chit lit..whatever, my mind wanders. I can't seem to hold concentration and weirdly enough, I get sleepy and usually nod off. Honest. Perhaps I just haven't found any decent books that grip me after a few pages and which can hold my interest. I'd love you to recommend a few if you know of any!

Victoria Sponges, brownies and marble cakes. I got a few dessert / baking books for Christmas and it'd be rude not to try them out.

My hair! It's now a bright shade of intense red.Not the kind of red Rhianna might don but you know, an acceptable colour you can wear to work. (The odd grey hair is poking through, dyeing hair is now part of the beauty regime I'm afraid!)

Vegetables! I recently made the decision to follow a vegetarian diet. I had been thinking about it for a long time, well over a year and this week I made the decision. I'm about a week in and I haven't had a craving for meat, chicken or fish once. In fact, I made some lovely chickpea burgers and salad this evening. It was really filling and I've also been considering juicing a whirl. Oh and don't forget Porridge too. After spending years hating the stuff and I'm now 100% in love with it. (I'll do a blog post soon on the reasons behind this decision)

I did great before Christmas and lost a good bit of weight and toned up. All that went out the window over Christmas and again in January. I have noticed the change, so now I need to get moving again. I think it'll help in improving my mood of late too. I'm trying out Jillian Michaels 30 day shred and its available on YouTube if you feel the urge to pull yourself off the sofa. Go on, do it! Each session is only 20 minutes. It can be hard, but over before you know it.

Listening to:
Lyric FM. An Irish radio station which I find particularly soothing.

Tea, tea and more tea. I have been thinking maybe I should try and convert to herbal tea...but no, I love my tea. Especially the first cup in the morning.

Mothers Day cards, St Patrick's Day cards, Wedding cards and some custom orders which I always love. I also, finally got some fabric and thread and got started with my sewing machine. I made a little plush dog which I tell you, am incredibly proud of. Up close and to a trained eye, the sewing is probably not the best, but hey Cath Kidson had to start somewhere too.

What are you guys up to?

24 February, 2013

Mothers Day

No sooner has one holiday ended and it's time for another! Mothers Day is marked for March 10th this year and so as always, I've created and experimented some new ideas and put together a range of Mothers Day cards.

Apologies in advance for the images, they were taken via Instagram. Today it appears, is a day for technical difficulties. One minute its my internet connection and the next it's my camera. Where would we be without our pieces of equipment and connections to the world wide web?

Back to the crafts. Some images to indulge you. Each are priced at €4 and can be shipped anywhere in the world. The good news, if you're based in Ireland, shipping is free!

22 February, 2013

Do you believe in God?

They say never talk about religion or politics at a dinner party or among friends, however I enjoy the idea of using this platform to delve deeper into more hefty subject matter and nothing interests me more than those who believe in God or a god, have strong faith and believe that Jesus has a plan for them.

Let me give you the background info on me first of all. Growing up in Ireland I went catholic schools, made my first holy communion and confirmation and once, when my younger sister was about 6 years old (there's a three year age gap between us), she shouted in the middle of our street "There's no such thing as God!" and I remember being embarrassed and saying something along the lines of "Amy, you can't say stuff like that!". I didn't respond in this way because I was deeply religious, I was just lead to believe differently due to attending a Catholic school and being told that's just the way it is.

However, as I became older I questioned the idea of a God alot. When our family did attend church or mass, I hated going and the only time you saw me there was when I was part of a school choir, going to a funeral or a family wedding. I was the type of kid who wanted proof and I mean actual proof. If there was an actual God, then I wanted to see him. Not through nature, not by looking at my surroundings but a physical person. There were rumors that a statue of a saint in my school moved and flamin' Nora, I wanted to see that thing move! I would stare at, urging it to move, not because I wanted something to believe in, but because I wanted whole hearted, seen with my very own eyeballs proof.

I can remember being part of a school debating team around the age of 13 or 14 and the topic was "Is there a God!". I jumped on the "No, there isn't" side quicker than you can say cornflakes and relished the opportunity to debate my socks off on the matter. My closing argument was something along the lines of "religion has and continues to cause some of the biggest wars on the planet, what God wants this!?" (Not very well researched I know, but gimme a break I was about 14 and the internet wasn't invented then!)

Also, around this time two representatives from the Jesus Christ Church of Latter Day Saints moved into our housing estate. They were from America and I was intrigued by the two of them. They were very friendly, and entertained any questions anyone had for them. I had heaps! I wanted to know about their religion, what they believed, why they believed it and more importantly, what was America like and have you met Zack from Saved by the Bell 'cas I love him? Some of my friends were not allowed talk to them as their parents thought they were a bad influence, but genuinely I thought they were nice people and I liked talking to them. I didn't convert to their way of believing though.

My lack of belief only continued to grow in my teenage years and now I'd confidently consider myself to be atheist. I will attend church for weddings or funerals but I wont accept communion and I will avoid kneeling for prayer, blessing myself and reciting any prayers. I respect those who have a belief in a religion or a God and am literally fascinated by those who do. I wonder what it is specifically that they believe in and how their faith developed. I often wonder, if they were born into a non religious family, would they still be strong believers? I would probably debate no, but I'd be interested to hear others thoughts on this.

In the last number of years, many childhood and college friends have taken the very grown up step to get married and have children. With the exception of one wedding, each one has been a religious ceremony. I remember one in particular involved the couple reciting what I would term 'a religious heavy' prayer to each other promising that they would follow God and essentially do what was asked of them from him. My other half (who is also a non-believer) looked at me. We were thinking the same thing. That wasn't for us. We also won't have our children christened. It's just our choice.

The non religious wedding we did attend was one of the most beautiful and personal ceremonies I have ever attended. There wasn't a priest or prayer in sight and any readings were devised from love stories or love poems. It was very personal and apt for the couple in question and the event was topped with a symbolic handing binding event and rather than being blessed by God, they were blessed with earth, wind, water and fire. It may sound a tad hippy to some, but honestly it was beautiful and there were many church goers outside who said it was the nicest and loveliest wedding ceremony they ever attended. The couple later officially tied the knot in a private civil ceremony and signed the piece of paper that made them married in the eyes of the law.

So reading all of the above, what do I believe? Its a difficult one for me to answer. I do believe in evolution and that science has played a role in the development of the earth and us as human beings as we see it today. I once had a conversation with someone who was shocked I believed in evolution, he exclaimed "You believe we came from apes?". Well science and research certainly dictates to it, so yes I guess I do! 

As mentioned, I'm clearly one of those fact finding and evidence based type people so kudos and respect to those who have faith and a strong belief without requiring any of the above!

I'll end on saying "Each to their own!" and if you feel the need to comment, I'd love to hear your thoughts. I have huge respect for you all whether your faith is Catholic, Christian, Muslim, Mormon or otherwise, its the diversity of people that we have on our planet which makes it an interesting place to live.


21 February, 2013

Wedding Crush

Folks, I'm not engaged (despite being with the other half for nearly 7 years...I can hear Beyonce in the background now, whoah,oh,oh,oh..), but it doesn't stop a girl drooling over every trinket and cute itty bitty thing which you can create, buy or collect in order to make your special day a bit more...well, erm..special!

Like many of you, I'm a pinterest fan and have accumulated quite the collection of  wedding related pins and if you're in the need of something more alternative for your big day, well look no further 'cas I've quite literally done the work for you. 

A selection below of my very favourite wedding pins. Warning: This post may cause you to uncontrollably say 'Ohh' and 'Ahh' without warning. To view more wedding pins and boards dedicated to my ever growing addiction for stationary and notebooks, hot foot over over here.

18 February, 2013

Positive Quotes and Dream Jobs

Today lets talk about dream jobs and all those positive quotes out there telling us to 'Go get it', 'Follow your dreams' and 'Be happy'. I want to question and discuss whether this really is possible. Can you up sticks, quit the routine and monthly wage of a job, be adventurous and take up your idea of a dream job? Can you literally half or quarter your income and happily support yourself, still pay the bills and have enough at the end of the month for the odd treat?

Many of us would say yes it is, but the reality behind implementing 'insert dream here' that underlies these positive quotes is that it takes careful planning, hard work and alot of focus and in the case of moi, a whole lot of focus. Especially financial focus, so lets talk about that old chestnut.

As someone with a short attention span and a fickle temperament, I am constantly changing my mind and what it is I actually want. One minute I want to stay put, save a shed load of money and the next I'm checking out the rental costs of living in some far reached destination and if said country are looking for any stationary addicts like myself, then I'm sending an email with a lovely CV their way and popping it into their inbox complete with a smiley face. (ok, ok, no smiley face, I'm faaaar more professional than that!)

At the grand ole age of 30, my savings are few and far between and I'm currently focusing on throwing, literally throwing money at my bank so that I can pay off that swanky MA I recently completed. The good news is that by the end of the year, I'll be debt free and then all that money I was throwing at the bank can then be thrown into a savings account....or under my mattress. I'm also being a grown up and putting away a good proportion of money each month and have set a target of money to be saved at the end of the year. The money literally comes out of my account the day I'm paid, so I can't get my spending paws anywhere near to it. This, is good for me.

Taking all the above into account, it does leave me wondering where I squander the rest of my pennies and as a result, I've taken matters into my own hands. I've started to divvy up my monthly wage. x goes here, x goes there and x goes on those fabulous craft supplies I saw on Etsy last month. (I wish!). Sitting down and working out the debits and credits can really empower you, you're in charge of your moo-la and you decide how, where and when it should be spent. Its important stuff peeps and I encourage you to tot up those pretty coffees you have each month, keep track of all those tunes downloaded from itunes and perhaps look at ways in which you can save more or even make more!

By learning to look after your finances better, sticking a few quid in a cookie jar somewhere each month (aka the bank!), you'll be more than ready when that dream job comes a'calling or even better, when you feel ready yourself to take the plunge and create your own dream job. The funds will be there to help you move house, pay a hefty deposit, perhaps hire some movers and of course throw the most fabulous of house warming parties!

While the saying 'saving for a rainy day' can sound boring and not in the least bit exciting, perhaps think of it in your own terms such as 'saving for a new adventure', 'saving for that dream holiday' or in my terms 'saving so that I can go get um tiger, move country and take over the world pa!'. Yes...yes that is the real title behind my ickle dream.

Go make yours and get your saving butt on! :)

15 February, 2013

250th Post Giveaway Winner!

A big thank you to all who entered the LuckyRainbow Giveaway to celebrate my mini milestone of 250 blog posts. I've come to really enjoy blogging over the years and especially enjoy connecting with you all and discovering even more amazing blogs to read each day! It's a slight addiction.

Without further a do, a big congrats to the lovely Sarah Evans!

Sarah, if you could email me at luckyrainbowdesigns@gmail.com and we'll get your package of crafty items sent out to you!

13 February, 2013

A quick reminder!

Hellooo all!

A quick reminder that today is the very last day to enter my crafty giveaway which celebrated 250 blogging posts. A wee milestone which I'm very proud of. Over the years, I come to really love blogging, connecting with all you guys in the blog-o-sphere and of course reading your lovely comments as well as your own blogs.

To be in with a chance to win a stash of goodies, follow the link to this post and get entering and perhaps a Lucky Rainbow goodie box will be on its way to you!

The lucky winner will be announced tomorrow afternoon and the prize will be sent anywhere in the world! Whats not to love?

Good Luck to everyone who has entered so far!

P.S Happy Valentines Eve!

09 February, 2013

Valentines Gifts for Him

"Love is in the air..everywhere I look around", as the song goes!

I'm celebrating my seventh valentines with my handsome other half and just like Christmas, it gets a little harder as the years pass by to think of something creative, unusual and perfect for him. However, a quick drool through Etsy and the interweb and I'm feeling inspired once more.

Possibly the best 'Friends' quote there ever was and found via here

Some lovely and nice smelling exfoliating wash to make him even more handsome...mmm

A beautifully made, simple and not over dramatic card, money, phone wallet...so he can keep everything in one place and stop breaking his bank cards in half! (True story) via here

A naughty valentines card you'll know he'll love! via here

 A massage oil bar...for relaxation purposes! via here

A sweet print. via here

Finally, some crafty ribbon to wrap it all up in. via here

06 February, 2013

Moi and 25 random facts

I am a big fat sucker for blog posts where people share random facts about themselves, maybe its because I'm  nosey, but I find it provides a real insight to the blogger themselves and if you want to write a wee post about yourself, well then I'll be there reading it and rooting for you, so go on right ahead and be sure to let me know about it.

The reason? 

Well, normally when you follow a blog you really love reading and admire, you take it for granted or assume that you know that person really well and that all is perfect behind their screen. So, when they take the time to tell you a bit more about themselves, I personally really enjoy this process and type of blog post and when I really enjoy someones blog and their style of writing / sharing info, I like it even more when they feel confident enough to share info about themselves be it personal or otherwise.

Am I making sense? No? Didn't think so! Read on so.

Seeing as I want to be a better blogger, I thought I'd share some random facts about little ole me. Perhaps you're interested, perhaps you're not? Sharing these insights don't necessarily make me a better blogger, but perhaps it counts towards adding a tad more personality to this ickle interweb space of mine.

1. I'm a bit of a control freak at times. I tend to think my idea is the best idea....actually scrap that, I nearly always think that! ha!

2. I can hold a tune - meaning I'm not a bad singer. I've sang on stage and at weddings too! (not at the end of the night drunk type singing, but you know, when the lady in the white dress is walking up the aisle.)

3. I own too much makeup, but I still buy more.

4. I don't tan...ever. I'm always the whitest person on the beach and people always stare at me. Except in Asia where people have walked up to me and touched my skin. I love you Asia.

5. I have lots of regrets. (Too soon to share them, I'm afraid)

6. I think I don't have great skin, but others have told me differently. I keep looking at wrinkles!

7. I'm 5ft 4 inches but would love to be taller

8. My boyfriend is called Robert. We've been together over 6 years and he's 6ft 5 inches tall. He's a dab hand at reaching things on the top shelf.

9. I'm scared of flying, but it doesn't stop me from travelling anywhere and I have cried on flights.

10. I can't drive. My boss has tried a million times over to get me driving. I joke with him that if he were to see me drive in his lifetime it would be his single greatest achievement.

11. My favourite childhood film is 'Flight of the Navigator'. I fancied the kid in it.

12. I love days off work when I don't have to wear a suit and instead get to wear colourful clothing

13. I secretly would like to wear glasses, like proper geeky ones!

14. My dream car is a vintage mini or a nissan figaro

15. I really, really, really want a dog. So bad.

16. My dream career as a kid was to work in Visual Display. It still kinda is.

18. If I'm in a bad mood, I usually take a nap so I don't have to think about why I'm in a bad mood

19. I love baking, but usually try and refrain from eating all of it.

20. I'd love to have the guts to get a really, cool and out there hairstyle.

21. Most of the time, I'm happiest when on my own because I love quiet time.

22. I still really, really, really want a dog. This point deserves two spots on this list.

23. I collect notebooks. I never fill one but I always keep them.

24. Whenever I go on holidays, I also check to see if they have a local craft shop.

25. Finally, I've never had a manicure.

So there you have it, 25 random but no too personal facts! Any of these resonate with you or perhaps you'd like to contribute and share a few below.

05 February, 2013

(Re) - Learning to knit, like a granny

Around the age of 10, when I was in fourth class (I've no idea what grade this is in America...) our teacher Mrs Butterly undertook the ambitious task of teaching about 20 of us the art of knitting. I mastered the plain stitch in no time but as much as I tried I could not master pearl and as a result (I, and many others) could not undertake the even bigger task of knitting a jumper. Seriously, what was our teacher thinking, even now as a qualified teacher myself I'm not sure I could oversee the knitting of 20 odd jumpers and keep the class in control. 

Anyways, I decided I'd just crack on with the plain stitch and perhaps make a scarf with my pink wool, but eh....I didn't get very far with it either. Fast forward 20 years on and I can still remember how to knit the plain stitch, so well done Mrs Butterly, you obviously taught me well and wouldn't ya know, Santa brought some knitting needles, beginners books and lots of colourful wool and guess what people, I can now do the pearl stitch. I'm was bloody alarmed to find out that its crazy easy, it's just the plain stitch backwards! - Maybe I missed school the day Mrs Butterly was teaching the pearl stitch, but I felt like I achieved a  mini childhood goal of being able to knit plain and pearl. Take that swotty girls who ended up mastering both techniques and eventually making an entire jumper, thus putting me to beginners knitting shame.

On Christmas day (before I achieved the dizzying heights of all things pearl related), I dived in and declared "I'm knitting a stripey scarf!".

I'm still knitting that scarf, dropping stitches like it's no ones business but I don't care, it's my scarf and as raggy as it will probably end up looking, I'll know, I made it, all by.my.wee.self. Hurragh for little challenges and goals. You never know I might even get to jumper stage!

02 February, 2013

Positive Quotes and Hellllo February

First of all, can we just take a moment to say a big fat hello and 'How are ya?' to February. Today is the first day in a very long time that I've woken up, opened the curtains, seen beautiful blue skies and some lovely spring sunshine and I for one am very happy about this. Yea it still might be cold outside and you can't put those winter clothes away just yet, but its bright and my surroundings look happier, so yeah for that!

I've spoken to so many friends and colleagues about how blue January felt and many of them spoke about how they lacked motivation, felt down, unhappy and just generally wished the month of January away. For some reason, I too found January 'difficult'. Many mornings and days were foggy,my enthusiasm was low and generally I craved days when I could turn off my alarm, stay under the duvet for the day and just not hang out with the world. For the most part, I'm a glass half full kind of person, so feeling this bad was alien to me. Listening to a recent radio show in Ireland, they discussed all of the above and came to the conclusion, that us Irish don't get enough vitamin D. An important vitamin for our well being and an vitamin that we should consider taking daily. Sound advice, but I'm generally not great about reminding myself to take tablets or vitamins so its not something I'm not embarking on right now.

However, as an alternative and in praise of this new bright cheerful sunshine, I'll be 'looking up' today, absorbing the first of those spring rays and spending Saturday topping up my Vitamin D levels the natural way.

Here's to February, you beautiful, beautiful month.
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